“I came through the door, I said it before” content is king (Rakim, “Eric B. is President” 1985). As someone that still buys CDs and vinyl records, I tend to expect a little more now with my purchases since I know they are so easy to make. If I can fabricate your CD, then there is a good chance I really don’t want to buy it. That does not mean I will not, good friend of mine. I just wish you took a little more time making something that I can justify keeping on the shelf that inevitably collect dust on a mantle somewhere.
I featured the latest video from People Under The Stairs on here and I just got their new album in the mail. Come check me out as I open my new collector’s item.
Let me clarify, PUTS have been putting together clever merchandising arrangements since way back. They understand the value of “limited edition.” The first single off their new record was only available on vinyl and there was only 500 copies made. The Stepfather album had the first “fan club” write-in program that I have seen since the early 90s, along with other hidden gems all over the CD/DVD project. I cannot forget my die-cut 10″ single of “Tuxedo Rap (remix).”
Along with PUTS, there have been many others that have put together really cool packaging and accompanying swag to go with their music projects. Hip hop is no stranger in that regard. It is just surprising how little it happens though. See this post as a “call-to-action” for artists to spend more time on what they plan to sell to their fans.
Look to acts like People Under The Stairs or Nine Inch Nails for guidance on how to create interesting merchandise that people are willing to buy. The more effort you put into your work, the more you can feel confident charging your fans to buy it. Oh, it helps if what you sell them will increase in value over time too. *wink wink* Here are some suggestion bullets to focus on:
- No CD-Rs or forms of media that have limited lifespans. Cassette tapes are okay, but I advise against it.
- Signatures go a long way sometimes.
- While you do not have to spend a killing on what plays the tunes, you should spend extra on whatever is going to hold it. Paying Shepard Fairey whatever his asking price to design your CD artwork might be a good move.
I will elaborate on this some more in a future piece. I am more interested in finding more music artists that are putting out cool merch for fans to collect. PLEASE SHARE YOUR FAVORITES IN THE COMMENTS.